The trials of a young Swiss-Mexican

Susana Rivero Roethlisberger is hoping to add some Latin American flair to the Swiss team swissinfo

Susana Rivero Roethlisberger is captain of the women's football team at the Universidad de las Américas Puebla in Mexico.

This content was published on April 11, 2008 - 14:02

Her mother is from Bern however and the 21-year-old is currently trying to get into the Swiss national side. She tells swissinfo about how the experience is testing her patience as much as her ball skills.

Roethlisberger was born in the Mexican city of Puebla and says she has been crazy about football since she was seven, when she started kicking a ball around with her father and brothers. She then joined a kids' team and her first girls' team when she was 12. She played her first game for the Mexican under-17s when she was only 15.

She is currently studying hotel management at the Universidad de las Américas Puebla and is central defender for the university team, but her main challenge at the moment is getting a place in the Swiss national team.

"I've been invited to try out for the Swiss team," Roethlisberger told swissinfo. "I spent Christmas 2006 in Switzerland and met the coach, Béatrice von Siebenthal, but unfortunately the winter break meant I wasn't able to have a trial then. But my sister went to Bern and arranged another meeting with the coach for when I travel to Switzerland at the end of May."

She has been waiting for a trial for a year-and-a-half and can't wait to prove what she can do. She describes herself as a very combative player who loves the sport and gives 100 per cent every match.

"I really would be very proud to represent Switzerland and to wear the team's shirt. That would be a dream outcome, as football is very important to me."

"Less opportunity"

Women's football has developed in Mexico and the level of competition is much greater than before, but Roethlisberger says that compared with Europe there is less opportunity to play, which is why she wants to play in Switzerland.

In order to get into top shape for her meeting with the Swiss coach, she has been training with Puebla, who play in the Mexican first division.

She adds that even if she doesn't make it into the Swiss team, she would like to stay in Switzerland and play for a team there.

That would not however be Roethlisberger's first experience of Swiss football – when she was 16 she trained for three months with Bern.

And although her knowledge of women's football in Switzerland is limited, she is impressed by the standard – "the players are strong and tactically very well prepared".

Euro 2008

Roethlisberger comes to Bern "every two or three years" and visits aunts, uncles, cousins and her grandmother, with whom she will stay during Euro 2008, which Switzerland is co-hosting with Austria in June.

She thinks Switzerland will play an important role in the tournament. "Although they're a small team, I think they could cause a surprise. And the fact that they're playing at home will motivate them even more," she said.

"Among the Swiss players, I'm particularly impressed by Philippe Senderos. I've watched Arsenal several times and he's a very important figure."

It is of course pure coincidence that Roethlisberger and Senderos play in the same position...

swissinfo, Iván Turmo

Women's football in Switzerland

Organised women's football in Switzerland was officially recognised in 1970. In the same year the Swiss women's national team played their first match against Austria, winning 9-0.

In 1993 the women's football league was disbanded and women's football was absorbed fully into the SFA.

There were 270 licensed female players in 18 clubs during the first season 1970/1. In 2003 there were just over 8,000 players and today more than 20,000 women and girls are registered at 799 clubs.

The 1997/8 season saw the first women's football player of the year award, which went to SV Seebach player Sonja Spinner.

A centre of excellence for young women was opened at the National Centre for Sport in Huttwil.

The Swiss women's national team is ranked 28th in the world – Mexico is 22nd – and is hoping to qualify for the 2009 European championships in Finland.

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